[Burning Issue] National Biopharma Mission

Why in news?

Recently, a loan agreement of US$ 125.00 million was signed between India and World Bank for a National Biopharma Mission’s project titled “Innovate in India (i3) for inclusiveness”.

Need of Mission

  • India has been an active player in the pharmaceutical industry and has contributed globally towards making life-saving drugs and low-cost pharmaceutical products accessible and affordable for those in need.
  • Despite, these advances Indian biopharmaceutical industry is still 10-15 years behind their counterparts in the developed countries and faces stiff competition from China, Korea and others.
  • The lacuna primarily exists due to disconnected centres of excellence, less focus on translational research and staggered funding.
  • There was an immediate need felt to focus on consolidated efforts to promote product discovery, translational research and early stage manufacturing in the country to ensure inclusive innovation.

About

  1. This is an Industry-Academia mission to accelerate biopharmaceutical development in India.
  2. The following are the objectives of the Mission :
  • Development of products from leads that are at advanced stages in the product development lifecycle and relevant to the public health.
  • Strengthening and establishing shared infrastructure facilities for both product discovery validation and manufacturing.
  • Developing human capital by providing specific training to address the critical skills gaps in researchers, nascent biotech companies across the product development value chain, including in business plan development and market penetration.
  • Creating and enhancing technology transfer and intellectual property management capacities and capabilities in the public and private sector.

INNOVATE IN INDIA (i3)

  1. Its a program launched under National Biopharma Mission.
  2. It aims to enable and nurture an ecosystem for preparing India’s technological and product development capabilities in biopharmaceutical to a level that will be globally competitive over the next decade and transform the health standards of India’s population through affordable product development.
  3. The main focus area of the program includes :
  • It will specifically focus on the development of new vaccines, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices to address the rising burden of diseases in the country.
  • The programme will help deliver 6-10 new products in the next five years, create several dedicated facilities for next-generation skills, and hundreds of jobs in the process.
  • It intends to collectively fill the missing link between the discovery and development and bring together private sector, Government and academia which we can call triple helix of medical innovation which can spur further development.
  • The initial focus will be on Vaccines for HPV, Dengue and biosimilars for cancer, diabetics and rheumatoid arthritis and medical devices and diagnostics.
  • Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a public-sector enterprise under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), is the implementing agency of the mission.

Conclusion

  • The mission has the potential to boost the growth curve for domestic biopharma in India by accelerating the translation of research concepts into viable products, enabling sustainable networks for collaboration between industry and academia, and supporting entrepreneurial ecosystem amongst many others.
  • The program has a great potential to take it further & move the idea of Make in India to Innovate in India
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